Dialogue with Mr. Ong Peng Tsin

Who is this guy Mr. Ong Peng Tsin. More details @ the Facebook event. DISCLAIMER: this blog post was written during a lecture.

Honestly, I went into the dialogue session without any idea what it’s gonna be like. I would have guess what it is since it was prof. Ben who organised the dialogue. But seriously, this is effectively my first dialogue session with a successful entrepreneur. within the first few minutes, I know I’m in for a treat.

Just like the first CS3216 class, soon enough hard questions kept popping-up, e.g. “how do you define success?” “what’s your motto in life?” “how do you manage to overcome your biggest challenge in life?”. Mr.Ong answers all of them with no sweat. It seems like successful people always have a set of formula under their belt. For Mr.Ong, it is “Clarity”. a simple search in the eng-chi dictionary gave the chinese equivalent of 明晰. “Define clarity” on google gave it as “the state, or measure of being clear, either in appearance, thought or style. (wikitionary)”. It is of the clarity of purpose. It is about being clear that this is where I should be now, doing what I should be doing. That, I classify as good material for my mental acrobatics. We shall leave the acrobatics for later. Another key point that sort of hit me was Mr.Ong’s definition of Smart people. I don’t really remember why he attempt to define a smart person. I know it has to do with some engineering recruitment etc. But anyway, the first criteria is the ability to work with people, team-working skills. That’s true, as we all know 2 brains is definitely better than ONE, especially those who resonates. however this definition is everywhere. The thing that hit me was the second criteria – an inquisitive mind…. It’s about the natural curiosity about things around. It’s about asking the question WHY and the attempt to answer the question on our own. It’s about trying to figure out hard questions. According to these criteria, In a way a smart person is a person with clarity as well. Clarity requires a lot of consistent question answering.

With this set of formulae, I try to do some curve fitting with my experimental data (personal experience). Immediately, it’s intuitive that it’s a nice fit. this might sound like a brag but the immediate conclusion is that I’m smart! I believe most of us in CS3216 must be smart as well, if not we might not even pass prof. Ben’s recruitment exercise. As described in my “about joshuatj” page I love mental acrobatics, to a point I take it as my hobby (or sport). Essentially, mental acrobatics is my unique way to achieve clarity. It’s no too big a different from what Mr.Ong has described. That’s what I do all the time, I enjoy asking myself hard questions and attempt to answer them logically. (Thank God that I’ve met some rare individuals that can take my mental acrobatics e.g. Cheeeng and recently Kana and Raymond)

In a way, what I’m doing here is sort of like Thinking out loud (writing out loud?) and I really like this a lot. I called this “Output Learning”. I believe that unless I am able to put what’s in my head into words (saying it out OR writing it down), I don’t really understand what’s going on.

So now, the mental acrobatics, as Mr. Ong has said, startup is like an Extreme sport, if one is not ready, one shouldn’t jump into it so soon. However, I was taught to live a middle way  life 中庸之道. How do I balance this two apparent opposite polarity? Is extremity absolutely necessary for influencing others?

ah… and I found a transcript of another interview with Mr. Ong 2 years ago. That is after I wrote this post http://asia.cnet.com/blogs/geekonomics/post.htm?id=63007875

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